JACKSONVILLE — It seems like the Eagles might need to sign another quarterback.
Doug Pederson on Thursday night was not ready to make that admission.
“We’ll evaluate Cody (Kessler) again tomorrow and over the weekend,” Pederson said. “We’re going to get through the next few days, we’re going to evaluate everything. Obviously, really excited for Clayton (Thorson), getting a lot of time. We’re just going to evaluate where we are and make a decision as we go.”
Just a couple hours earlier, Pederson watched his backup quarterback go down for the second time in two weeks. After Nate Sudfeld broke his wrist in the first preseason game, this time it was Kessler who went down with a concussion early in Thursday night’s 24-10 preseason win at TIAA Bank Field.
Kessler was pummeled on a blindside hit by Datone Jones in the first quarter and was taken off the field for evaluation. Pederson intimated the hit was Kessler’s fault, that he should have seen the pressure coming and delivered the football earlier.
In any case, the Eagles will be back at practice Sunday and now have just two healthy quarterbacks: Carson Wentz and Thorson.
Pederson was asked if they needed to have three quarterbacks heading into a new week of practice. He said they don’t.
“We can get by with the two guys,” he said. “It does put a little more load on both of those guys. Until we can evaluate Cody further, we’re not ruling him out until we evaluate him.”
Kessler is now in the concussion protocol. While every concussion is different, it’s rare that a player is able to return from a concussion in one week’s time. So if the Eagles don’t plan on playing Wentz much or at all in the third preseason game, that would leave them with just Thorson.
That might force the Eagles to sign a quarterback, but it won’t even answer the biggest question that is still lingering:
Have the Eagles seen enough of Kessler to go into the season with him as the backup until Sudfeld heals?
“It’s still early,” Pederson said. “Obviously, this is what the preseason is for, to give these guys some opportunity. We still have a couple games left and we’re going to do our due diligence to make sure we see enough of everybody at every position to make educated decisions at the end.”
But there’s a chance Kessler’s concussion could force him to miss one or both remaining preseason games. Will he still be their best option to back up Wentz in Week 1?
Adding another twist in this whole situation is that Thorson actually played well on Thursday night. What if he plays well the rest of the preseason? Would the Eagles tab the rookie fifth-rounder as the backup? Would they be too worried to try to sneak him through waivers and to the practice squad?
That means this could set up a situation where the Eagles are forced to keep four quarterbacks on their roster going into Week 1.
These injuries have not changed Pederson’s mind about his plan for Wentz.
“We’re going to get some great work with Baltimore coming into town,” Pederson said. “The plan has always been to really push the starters in practice and make sure they’re prepared there.”
There’s a lot of angst in Philly about the backup quarterback position, but it could all eventually be moot if Wentz stays on the field. That’s the plan anyway. But with two weeks left in the preseason, there are still plenty of questions about the backup job and not much time for answers.
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